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Posts Tagged ‘National Teachers Day’

I pass the National Education Association (NEA) main office everyday going to work and today I happened to notice a big sign out front celebrating “National Teachers Day.” Of course it made me think of the numerous teachers in my life, both good and bad, and pay a mental tribute – again both good and bad.

I remember in third grade a certain Mrs. Kennedy (it was always Mrs. or Miss in those days, no Ms. to choose from). She was an African American women, strong in opinion but gentle in approach. There was no doubt that I liked her, but what made her memorable was the fact she was going to have a baby and actually talked about it. I think we all learned more about “sex ed” though her conversations on the subject than anything we received officially for years to come, whether in school or at home. It made us more aware of what was real vs. rumor as well,  helping down the road when the subject was of much more considerable interest.

Then there was Mr. Cook in the 9th grade, our Spanish teacher who refused to speak English to us from day one. I suppose he thought that was a good approach, “immersion” as it might be called now, but without any English explanation, I was lost from the beginning, and Spanish was my first language too – not from heritage but logistics as my dad was in the Army and we had been stationed in Columbia. An honor student, I actually flunked the class which was shocking to everyone but me, I felt relief the year of torture was over, until I discovered upon entering the 10th grade, that “Senior Cook” and I were paired once again.

There was Mr. Mason, a high school history teacher who made me realize the importance of learning from the past so as not to repeat the future. There were others who taught me lessons I only vaguely remember now but who’s impact I feel all of the time as they have become part of who I am. And there was that nameless substitute health teacher (coach of the football team), whose one-liner, “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” has stuck with me always.

So here’s to you, the teachers of America, underpaid, overworked and unfortunately leaving the profession in droves as a result. You tend to be wonderful, compassionate people who really do care about our children. As we honor you today, may the halls of our leadership do something about recognizing your value to the future of this country and address your needs.

And if you are not a teacher but would like to show support, there is DonorsChoose.org, a wonderful organization that allows you to contribute in a meaningful way to the school of your choice. Of course, there is AAUW too, contribute so that a graduate study student can continue their higher education in today’s tough economy.

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